Plea to find mum’s body
A man with weeks to live has pleaded for help in finding his Motherwell-born mother who vanished nearly 50 years ago when he was a baby.
Graham Ruffle’s mum Ellen was last seen on November 14, 1969, after dropping him and his twoyear-old sister Rosemary at their gran’s home.
Ellen’s body has never been found although police carried out extensive forensic searches at the home she shared with her husband Norman.
Graham revealed his ailing health has made his search for answers even more urgent.
He said: “I just want to know what happened to my mum before I die.
“I’m not in very good health at all. I’ve had three strokes and a heart attack. I’ve got tubes feeding me and I suffer from neuropathy.
“I have diabetes and kidney disease.
“It’s so difficult with my health knowing I still have no answers as to what happened to mum. I believe my mum to be dead.”
In 2012, police began a new search for Ellen that focused on the back garden and garage at the family’s former Motherwell home but nothing was found.
Norman, now 77, was granted a divorce in 1975, and married second wife Senga in the same year. They live in Melrose in the Borders.
Ellen trained as a teacher and married Norman in Singapore eight years before her disappearance.
Ellen taught in Singapore, Bournemouth and schools in Lanarkshire and was working at Cathedral Primary School in Motherwell at the time of her disappearance, when she was 34.
In 1976, Norman and Senga took Rosemary and Graham to live in South Africa where Graham grew up believing Senga was his real mum.
During a previous plea for help in 2016, Graham, now 50, said he feared something “sinister” had happened to his mum.
He added: “I wouldn’t like to hear mum was murdered and dumped in a field or something. She deserves a proper burial if she hasn’t already had one.
“I’ve looked into the case as much as I could, as have the police. There is no proof of her ever being alive since the last day she was seen.”
Graham, who lives in London, began probing his mum’s disappearance after he returned from South Africa in 1989.
Norman said in 2012 that the investigation had brought back unhappy memories.
Missing Ellen was last seen in November 1969